I am a selfish person, there I said it. It is true, I am selfish, I think it might be because I am an only child. I managed to grow up somehow thinking the world is all about me…then I had children. That changed everything. Now, not even going to pee is about me anymore, nope now that simple once private act is a group activity to be fit in amongst everyone else’s needs. While I did perhaps deserve a gentle nudge out of the land of self indulgence, I don’t think I needed to land at the opposite end of the extreme boat and lose myself completely.
It seems to almost be a compulsion with parents, especially dare I say it, mothers. That is not a slam at Dads by any stretch. I admire my husband’s ability to close his mind off from everyone and everything and sink into well deserved “him” time. It is a skill to be lauded not undermined. I have learned much from him in this department.
I on the other hand have always talked the talk about self care, looking after me and balancing work, home life, friends etc…well you get the picture. But the truth is when you start adding in all the balls some get dropped, and for me I drop myself first and almost drive myself to the brink of insanity trying not to let anyone else down.
Isn’t it crazy that we never want to let others down but consider ourselves so dispensable? I will never forget the defining moment for me that I needed to swing the pendulum back towards selfishness. I was on the phone with the doctor making an appointment for someone in the house and the receptionist asked me my name. Okay big deal right, so what, right? I didn’t have an answer for her…that’s right you read correctly. It had been so freaking long since I had heard my own name that I could not immediately bring it to mind.
Who does that?? Who the f*#k forgets their own name??? Someone who forgot to look after herself, that is who. I the most truly selfish being in the whole world, who had preached to everyone who would listen that Moms need to look after themselves first to be good mothers, had fallen off that proverbial bandwagon and let myself fade from my list of to do’s.
Finding balance, I have learned, is a constant. Even if you find the elusive rabbit hole called balance, something somewhere shifts and you are left searching anew. Balance is a continuous juggling act that demands that you release some of your balls and let them fall. Many of us would consider that failure and therein lies the problem. We see failure in lieu of the balance were searching for so valiantly. But in truth, failure is the true lesson. It is okay to not be able to keep up and do everything and be there for everyone. Life will continue, and it might even be better – f*#k balance. But the one ball that we should strive to always keep in the mix is our self.
A little selfish is okay. It makes us better parents, friends, employees and partners. When I am happiest my whole family benefits, likewise when I am a miserable b@#* they all suffer. So now I strive for balance in my selfishness. It will never be all about me again, at least not in this lifetime, but I strive to put me first sometimes and more importantly to not lose myself because of everything around me.
I can proudly say I remember my own name now. There was that one time I called my child by the cat’s name, and of course some days I list all 4 children’s names before reaching the one I am looking for, oh and let’s not forget the unfortunate mixing of the 2 youngest boys names that resulted in them being called Nuc and Lic….but really that is an age and too outnumbered by children bent on driving me past the point of sanity issue, not balancing gone wrong..at least I think that’s it.
At the end of the day we all need to live our life in a way that feels right for us as individuals and in our family groups. But personally, I say sometimes balance sucks and the best we can do is just be the best you that you can be in that moment. My all time favourite quote feels apropos to this rant; “when life hands you lemons…go get the tequila and salt”. Not sure who said it but it has stayed with me for 2 decades, so obviously it works;)